Winning Jobs Narrative Project

A working people-centered narrative architecture for talking about jobs, work, and the economy that resonates across race, geography, and issues.

Our Approach

For years, right-wing politicians have hammered away on an economic message of smaller government and lower taxes, while progressives struggled to find clear and consistent language to effectively communicate about jobs and the economy.

The Winning Jobs Narrative addresses this challenge by creating a narrative architecture for talking about jobs, work, and the economy in ways that strengthen our connections with working people across race, geography, and issues.

Radical cooperation has been our guiding principle. No single project can deliver all that we need. So we set out to build on the work of colleagues and share our work widely to help inform a broader conversation. The progressive movement must be a movement for working people. Achieving that will take everyone’s contributions and long-term collaboration.

Full presentations on all Winning Jobs Narrative research data are available in our Resource Library.

Narrative Architecture

Narrative is created through storytelling and messaging repeated over time. The five narrative elements below can be combined and layered to help build effective conversations with a broad range of audiences.

Centering working people means (1) naming them expressly and (2) making them the subject and focus of messaging that acknowledges their contributions and prioritizes their concerns and aspirations.


“Hardworking Americans are bringing us back from the pandemic—and Democrats are getting things done for them by creating good-paying jobs and lowering costs.”

Two key ways to do this: (1) Acknowledge and appreciate hard work and hardworking people, and focus on what working people should be able to expect in return: acknowledgement, appreciation, liveable wages, good benefits, support, opportunity, and respect; and (2) frame policies as being about supporting and enabling work and contribution.


“We need to build an economy that respects working people—with quality jobs and education, affordable healthcare and childcare—so people can work, take care of their families, and contribute to their communities.”

We can elevate Middle-Out Economics (and inoculate against conservative “trickle-down” claims) via (1) simple, factual statements that working people are the engines of the economy, and (2) messaging that shows and illustrates the many ways working people drive our economy.


“Working people are the engines of the economy. When workers get a raise and have more money, they’re able to spend that money in their communities, which helps local economies thrive.”

Progressive policies are about empowering people and removing barriers that hold them back. Messaging that keeps government in a supporting role, rather than a leading one, affirms and centers the agency of working people.


“We have to do more to make sure working families, small businesses, and family farmers have the opportunities and tools they need to build a good life.”

Stating that a policy makes good economic sense, and explaining how it it benefits everyone, boosts support.


“Restoring the Child Tax Credit would give most American families $300 per child each month, which makes sound economic sense. This $300 per month will allow people to afford things like childcare so they can work, take care of their family, and do their part to keep growing our economy—which is good for everyone.”

What Advocates Are Saying​

Winning Jobs Narrative Core Documents


Messaging Guidance


A Working People-Centered Narrative for Talking About Jobs, Work, and the Economy

Narrative is developed over time through consistent messaging and storytelling. Following an ambitious research agenda, the Winning Jobs Narrative team has developed a narrative architecture that progressive advocates and leaders can draw from to frame a broad range of issues.

Our expansive research agenda began with an in-depth review of dozens of research projects from state and national partners to identify narrative opportunities and potential research gaps. We followed that with a six-month qualitative research phase that included nearly 3,000 conversations with voters in 17 states–including nearly 2,500 canvass conversations, 150 field ethnographic interviews with voters in their communities, 80 online journals, and eight focus groups. We then conducted a large-scale quantitative phase with more than 110,000 survey interviews, including multiple rounds of A/B message tests and a national Spanish-language message test.

Our work is ongoing, and we’re looking for collaborators. We’re partnering with non-profit advocacy and education colleagues across the progressive movement to identify ways we can apply the narrative architecture in messaging across issues at both the state and national level.

Our Team

We have engaged hundreds of researchers, advocates, progressive leaders, and funders throughout this project. Too many to list here. But we’d like to call attention to a few firms and individuals who have been core to this project along the way:

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